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RENTON, Wash. — The Seahawks have acquired Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown in a trade with the Texans, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Seattle is sending cornerback Jeremy Lane to Houston along with a 2018 fifth-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick, sources told Schefter.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider confirmed that the trade has been agreed upon but said it had not been fully finalized yet. The trade comes one day before the NFL’s Tuesday trade deadline and one day after the Texans lost to the Seahawks in Seattle.

Schneider said the Seahawks are inheriting Brown’s current deal from Houston, which runs through 2018, and that there is no new deal beyond that. Brown is owed about $5 million for the remainder of this season and is scheduled to make $9.75 million in 2018.

“Because we acquired Duane, we want him to finish his career here and have him be here for several more years,” Schneider said.

Brown, 32, has spent his entire 10-year career with Houston, which selected him in the first round in 2008 out of Virginia Tech. He returned last week from a holdout and played 68 out of 71 offensive snaps Sunday against Seattle.

Brown posted a goodbye message to the Texans and their fans via his Instagram account.
Asked earlier Monday about the possibility of the Texans trading Brown, coach Bill O’Brien said: “I don’t have any say in that. You know what I mean? I coach the team, that’s what I do. Duane played well yesterday. Obviously he’s played well for us for a number of years. I have a lot of respect for Duane, but that’s the business side of things, and I just concentrate on coaching the team.”

On Friday, Brown was a vocal critic of Texans team owner Bob McNair’s comment saying, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” during last week’s owners meeting in reference to ongoing player demonstrations during the national anthem.

The acquisition of Duane Brown should bring relief to the Seahawks' injury-depleted offensive line.

The acquisition of Duane Brown should bring relief to the Seahawks’ injury-depleted offensive line.

“I think it was ignorant,” Brown said. “I think it was embarrassing. I think it angered a lot of players, including myself. We put our bodies and minds on the line every time we step on that field, and to use an analogy of inmates in prison, that’s disrespectful. That’s how I feel about it.”

Schneider said the Seahawks had been talking with the Texans about Brown since Seattle lost starting left tackle George Fant to a torn ACL in the preseason. Rees Odhiambo, a 2016 third-round pick, has struggled while replacing Fant, as has Seattle’s offensive line as a whole this season.

The Seahawks previously met with free-agent left tackle Branden Albert, but nothing materialized.

The trade for Brown marks another bold move by Schneider, who had previously made deals for Marshawn Lynch in 2010, Percy Harvin in 2013 and Jimmy Graham in 2015.
Asked earlier Monday whether the Seahawks are hoping to make a trade before the deadline, coach Pete Carroll said: “You’re either competing or you’re not. You know John; he’s out there trying to figure out what’s going on. You never know.”

Adding Brown will require some salary-cap maneuvering by Seattle.

Brown’s contract with Houston includes a $9.4 million base salary for 2017, of which a little less than $5 million remains. The Seahawks had only about $1.4 million in cap space as of Monday, according to NFL Players Association records. So even with the remainder of Lane’s $4 million base salary for 2017 coming off the books, the Seahawks will have to clear room in some way to absorb Brown’s contract, unless they restructure it.

Seattle drafted Lane in the sixth round in 2012 and gave him a contract extension in March of 2016, after Lane came back from a broken wrist and torn ACL he suffered in Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots.

Lane began this season as the Seahawks’ starting right cornerback but recently lost that job to rookie Shaquill Griffin. Lane returned Sunday after missing the past two games and most of a third with a groin injury. He began the game as Seattle’s nickelback but was replaced in that role by Justin Coleman after hurting his thigh, Carroll said.

Lane tweeted a farewell to the Seahawks shortly after the trade news broke and appeared ready to move on to the next chapter of his NFL career.
“We’ll miss him around here,” Schneider said. “He did a great job for us. He overcame his injury and everything from the second Super Bowl, but he had to be part of the deal.”

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The reported four-year, $50 million extension for Telvin Smith underlines how valuable the Jaguars feel the linebacker is.

The reported four-year, $50 million extension for Telvin Smith underlines how valuable the Jaguars feel the linebacker is.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A weakside linebacker who isn’t a big-time pass-rusher generally isn’t considered a premium player.

That’s not the case when it comes to Telvin Smith and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The team’s decision to sign him to a four-year contract extension worth $50 million clearly means it views him as an integral part of the franchise’s future. He certainly has played a crucial role in the Jaguars’ turnaround in 2017; they’re one of the NFL season’s biggest surprises at 4-3 and tied for first atop the AFC South.

Smith might be undersized at 215 pounds, but his speed and athleticism help him make up for his lack of bulk. He leads the team with 58 tackles and is responsible for three of the defense’s league-high 16 takeaways. He has two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and a fumble recovery.

Smith had frustrated Jaguars coaches with his freelancing and being out of position early in his career after the team drafted him out of Florida State in the fifth round in 2014, but he became one of the Jaguars’ most reliable players last season. He consistently makes plays against the run despite his size and has been good in coverage against running backs and tight ends.

In less than two seasons, Smith has become one of the league’s better defensive players. He has more tackles, interceptions, fumble recoveries and defensive touchdowns than any other Jaguars player since 2014. He also ranks third in pass breakups.

He’s not a pass-rusher (just 6.5 career sacks), but the Jaguars run a 4-3 defense that doesn’t blitz much and tries to get pressure on the quarterback by rushing just four. Smith has excelled in coverage and has been matched up one-on-one with running backs and tight ends at times.

Another reason the team needed to lock up Smith: He has been the emotional leader of the Jaguars’ defense over the past two seasons.

Remember, Smith called a players-only meeting in April 2016 because he was tired of losing — at that point he had lost 24 with the Jaguars, more than he had lost in his previous six seasons playing football — and wanted to make sure his teammates weren’t getting used to it.

Smith also called the defense together after the Jaguars’ fourth organized team activity this past spring to tell his teammates he felt they should have been more advanced in their development. He wanted to make sure the team’s mind was in the right place.

“With the players that we have, I just think as a team we should be further than we are,” Smith explained at the time. “As players, we’ve got to do our part in the sense of it’s not scheme, none of that. It’s what do we want? What’s our mentality going to be?”

The Jaguars wanted to make sure they kept Smith around for an additional four years, because in their eyes he’s a premium player.

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PITTSBURGH — The Martavis Bryant saga took another turn Monday when the talented but disgruntled receiver didn’t show up for Steelers meetings because of an illness.

Thomas Santanello, Bryant’s agent, said Bryant went to see a doctor Monday morning. Bryant was not in the Steelers facility, and his locker chair was folded during the media’s 45-minute window of open access Monday afternoon.

This is not the first time Bryant missed a workday with an illness. He did not participate in a Saturday walk-through before the Week 5 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he missed two practice days with an illness in Week 4, too.
Bryant refueled his trade request late Sunday night with comments on Instagram, and a source close to Bryant affirmed that the receiver “wants out, point-blank.”

Bryant, who had one catch for 3 yards in a 29-14 win over Cincinnati Bengals, responded to a fan’s Instagram comment that rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster was better than him.

Martavis Bryant also missed time earlier this season because of illness.

Martavis Bryant also missed time earlier this season because of illness.

“JuJu is no where near better than me, fool,” Bryant commented. “All they need to do is give me what I want and y’all can have JuJu and whoever else.”

Bryant then clarified those remarks with a new comment that tagged Smith-Schuster, the rookie who caught a 31-yard touchdown Sunday and has cut into Bryant’s playing time. Bryant called Smith-Schuster “the future” but adds, “I just want mines, period, point-blank,” citing his hard work coming back from 2016 suspension for multiple drug violations.

One team source said Bryant clearly was frustrated on the field Sunday and wasn’t really into the game late. Sources have maintained the Steelers do not intend to trade Bryant. He has worked hard in recent practices and hasn’t been a problem in that area. In fact, Bryant thought he would be central to the Week 7 game plan based on the week of practices.

Smith-Schuster said he has been in contact with Bryant and the two are in a “good place.” Smith-Schuster understands what Bryant is going through as a receiver who wants more targets.

“There’s only one ball. We have so many athletes on the field. It’s tough,” Smith-Schuster said. “At the end of the day, we have to do what’s best for our team…Hopefully we do get him the ball more. He’s a great player, great athlete. I would like him to be on our team. Moving forward, I think he’s going to be big for us.”

On Monday, after a second straight win, the Steelers were left to answer questions about Bryant for the absent player.

“Everyone here is grown. We’re all going to have different thoughts and opinions,” linebacker Bud Dupree said. “He’s going to handle it on his own. We’re here so we’re still friends.”

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MESA, Ariz. — Patrick Peterson stood near the back of his favorite car, a silver, custom-built 1973 Chevrolet Caprice, admiring his most prized possession.

His portfolio of cars sat parked behind him.

For most, it would be called a collection, a tribute to American muscle cars — on steroids — almost all Chevrolets, most from the late 1960s and early 1970s, with a bit of luxury mixed in.
But to Peterson, the Arizona Cardinals’ six-time Pro Bowl cornerback, the 12 cars that sat parked in his garage, with two more outside, were an investment.

Twenty years after he watched his father’s best friend rebuild a 1972 Nova, sparking a love affair with cars, Peterson turned that passion into a business.

He buys, he sells, he rebuilds, he consults, and he ships. And Peterson has the money to buy most any car he wants.

His car portfolio is worth more than $2 million, a long way from where it started with just three cars bought during Peterson’s rookie contract, which began when he was drafted fifth overall in 2011. His cars have cost him anywhere from $12,000 to in excess of $300,000. When he signed a five-year extension in 2014 that could be worth as much as $70 million with $48 million guaranteed, Peterson expanded his collection to where it is today — 14 cars housed in an unmarked 2,700-square-foot garage in Mesa, Arizona. He has already seen a return on investment. His collection has already appreciated from $1.7 million a couple years ago.

But the 27-year-old is smart about his collecting.

“My thought process of buying these cars is totally different from other car buyers — other young car buyers,” Peterson said. “I look at my cars as an investment. [A lot of] these cars I have in here are Chevys and all cars that are going to appreciate their values.”

Take his 2013 Ferrari 458, for example. It’s one of three white carbon-fiber Ferraris with a red interior in existence, Peterson said. When Peterson bought it for $380,000, it had 1,500 miles on it. If Peterson ever decides to sell his collection, that’s one of the cars he thinks he can get back full value from.
“I thought it was a no-brainer for me to start a collection to where, if that day comes, to where I’m not enjoying my hobby anymore, I can sell these cars and not only get close to the value of what I put in it, I know I’m going to get something back,” Peterson said. “It’s not a waste of money or me throwing money away.”

It does take a lot of self control, though. With help from Matt Myers, who owns Kandy Shop Creations and has rebuilt and customized all of Peterson’s cars, Peterson has evolved as a car buyer.

“The things that you’re buying now, they’re actually worth really good money instead of just buying something because you wanted it,” Myers said. “Now you’re researching, like a normal person would buy a car. Pat knows what he likes.

“I’m impressed, but he’s a smart guy. He understands the game, period. It’s just as much as like playing football. You study everything you want to know. When he’s buying these things, he’s also realizing that they’re worth money, ‘If I get these things, then I get to enjoy them.’”

One major difference Myers notices is that, compared to some of his other wealthy customers, Peterson doesn’t buy just because he can.

“And then you have the buyer’s remorse of, not that you couldn’t spend the money, but, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I just did that, what’s wrong with me?’” Myers said.

Peterson admits he’s tempted every year when car companies release their latest models. To collect smart, he said, is to be strategic.

Sometimes, though, Peterson knows what he wants and gets it. He bought a 2017 Camaro for $98,000 because it was the 50th anniversary edition and the perfect bookend for Peterson’s 1967 Camaro.

For the most part, though, Peterson is picky.
“You really have to do your homework on it,” Peterson said. “You have to really look up under there to see how old is the car? Did they do any other restorations to it? Is there any bonding glue on it? Is the shell of the car any good? Is it rusted out? Is the motor any good? Will I have to change out the motor?

“Especially with these old cars, so much comes with it that a lot of guys don’t know about, and that’s why I say, ‘Young car buyers.’ Young car buyers may buy an old-school car or buy an old car but really don’t understand the work that it takes to put in the car so that car will be able to function and drive every day.”

That’s something Peterson learned, in part, from Myers.

Peterson’s at a point where he can evaluate a car on his own, decide if it needs work and figure out if it’s worth buying. But that took him four years to get there.

“I think it came with just seeing so many cars, just being a car guy in general,” Peterson said. “It’s almost like being a football player. If you want to be good at it, you have to do your due diligence. You have to put in that extra work. You have put in the time to be one of the best or someone that wants to be remembered.

“Once I fall in love with something, or if I want to do something the right way, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I’m on top of my game, make sure I’m on top of my knowledge to where, sure, no one can get one over on me or no one can gyp me out of what I think that costs or the price of the object or whatever it may take to fix or build these cars.”

One of Peterson’s sticking points is the drivability of his cars. He said he can drive the 1973 Caprice anywhere from Las Vegas to Florida.

But if he can’t drive one of his cars cross-country, Peterson started his own transport service to do it for him, Lockdown Transportation — a nod in name to his primary job as a shutdown corner.

It’s common for players on other teams to approach Peterson after a game, telling the three-time All Pro they saw his cars on Instagram and wanting to know where they could get one. He’ll get text messages throughout the season from guys around the league asking where they can get parts for their cars or get them fixed, or just asking for advice.
Throughout his conversations, Peterson realized there was a need for a transportation service. After each NFL season, there’s a mad dash of players trying to ship their cars home. Peterson has experienced it, and when he couldn’t find a transporter or it was booked, Peterson got frustrated.

Lockdown Transportation was created to solve that problem. The business began in March but it took him six months to get all the paperwork filed because he’ll be doing business across state lines. His first customer was Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jamal Crawford, who did business with Lockdown Transportation about a month ago.

Peterson’s business aspirations in the automotive field extend beyond his transport company. He’s also building a car dealership and is in the process of coming together with Myers on the P2 Kandy Shop, a similar concept to Myers’ shop.

“This is not just about collecting cars,” Peterson said. “This is a business. This is not just throwing away money, and Arizona is a perfect place for me to do this. The weather is always nice. You always see nice cars. You have car auctions here three or four times a year.

“So, all of these ideas finally come together, and I’m happy to finally see it come to fruition.”

But Peterson wouldn’t be building a small automotive conglomerate if it wasn’t for watching his father’s best friend build cars back home in South Florida.

Peterson soaked in every move his father’s friend made, rebuilding the Nova, from concept to completion.

“The thought process and just the end result, just seeing that excitement on his face when he was done with his car, he seemed like it was his child,” Peterson said. “He basically did everything to it. The way he wanted it to look, the way he wanted it to sound. That was all his creation. Seeing that excitement, seeing that joy, I wanted to feel that as well.”
Peterson’s first car was an “ugly ass” purple Dodge Intrepid that his father bought him. Patrick Peterson Sr. had told his son he’d buy him a car going into his junior year of high school. That also happened to be the year after Peterson Sr. held Patrick out of football because of his grades. To this day, Patrick still feels like his dad was “pulling a prank” on him because of how ugly Peterson thought his car was.

On top of its looks, the car was a lemon, Patrick said.

“I couldn’t drive it over 20 minutes without it getting hot,” Peterson said. “When that car ended up blowing up and I blew a couple of head gaskets, I ended up getting a 2001 Grand Marquis Mercury, so I got upgraded.”

And he has been upgrading ever since.

The first car that Peterson bought was a red 2010 Camaro in February of his junior year at LSU soon after he declared his eligibility for the NFL draft and signed with an agent. It currently sits in the corner of his garage as he decides its fate. He may swap out the engine with the 2017 Camaro’s, strip it and rebuild it or simply junk it.

One of the first cars in Peterson’s collection also taught him a valuable lesson in 2012. He had met Myers about four months earlier, after Myers painted Peterson’s Banshee motorcycle, Peterson’s first custom project. Peterson loved the details of Myers’ paint job, especially how the gold sparkle glittered in the Arizona sun.

Peterson walked over to Myers’ shop next door from where he got the Banshee, thinking Myers was just a painter. The two struck up a friendship and Peterson learned about Myers’ custom body work.
Peterson had bought a Chevrolet Chevelle that wouldn’t last more than 20 minutes without breaking down. He brought it to Myers, who diagnosed it with a bad fuel cell and poorly designed rear end.

“He looked at it, and he said, ‘Oh man, these guys got you,’” Peterson said with a chuckle. “He ended up telling me all the things I needed to do with that car. He fixed it up for me, and I ended up driving it around for a little bit. I was impressed with some of the minor work that he did for me, and next thing you knew, the relationship grew from there.”

Their relationship is still growing five years later, and their collaborations are everywhere throughout Peterson’s garage.

He pointed out his beloved Chevrolet Caprice. Peterson mentioned the red carpet, the Bentley interior and the push start — what Peterson said was the wildest idea he has ever had for a car. He described the supercharged motor and rear air conditioning. He talked about how he had to rebuild it twice. There isn’t another Donk — the word that, as Autoweek says, described a customized 1971-76 Chevy Caprice or Impala — like this one, Peterson said. And he’s especially proud of that, since this was the car he grew up seeing on the streets of South Florida — the vehicle that helped him fall in love with cars.

“I can guarantee, you cannot find another Donk that’s as good as that one,” Peterson said.

When Peterson can, he helps in the manual labor of rebuilding or customizing his cars. He painted his Corvette. He put a transmission in his 1973 Camaro. He helped paint his 1971 C-10. He also did some of the body work on his 2010 Camaro. Peterson can be out of the country, but he’ll still find time to text or email Myers about updates or ideas.

A lot of rebuilding and customizing cars is trial and error, Peterson said. He may have one idea in his head, but when it’s on a car, it doesn’t look like he envisioned it.
“I’m full hands-on with every car that we ever built in this garage,” he said.

Almost every car in his garage is a Chevy with the exception of two. So why Chevy? Peterson couldn’t answer exactly. It was something about them when he was growing up in the 1990s that caught his eye and stuck with him ever since. Almost every one of his cars has been customized in some way. There’s the red 1972 Chevy C-10 pickup truck parked behind the orange 1971 C-10 with a patina paint job in the middle of his garage. Along one wall are his 1969 Camaro, 2013 COPO, 2001 Camaro, 1968 Camaro and 1970 Nova. Parked in the middle of the garage is his orange 1973 Camaro. Outside were the 2017 Camaro and his 2014 Corvette Stingray.

His car collection is very much a reflection of who Peterson is on the field: Solid, strong and durable with a bit of flash and pizzazz.

With all the automotive art around him, his everyday car is a Cadillac Escalade.
And like some car owners, Peterson named all his rides. There’s Pokie, Gramps, Villian, Cherry Bomb, Volcanic, Bodacious, Snake Eyes and Molly. He just named his 2017 Camaro Smoke. The names rolled off his tongue as he moved behind an executive-sized desk in his office in the corner of his garage.

Then, among the behemoths of American muscle are automotive royalty: A white Rolls-Royce Dawn and the white Ferrari 458.

The Rolls-Royce was Peterson’s dream car.

“There was just something,” Peterson said. “That car is just so elegant. That car is just very rich and it has its own identity from pretty much every car that’s driven around in America. It also has a sport feel to it.”

So if he already has his dream car, where does Peterson go from here?

“I don’t know,” he said with a smile. “I don’t know. I’m running out of space.”

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has officially been diagnosed with a sprained AC joint in the shoulder of his throwing arm, according to coach Dirk Koetter. There is no structural damage, and he’ll be day-to-day.

On Winston’s first series Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, he took a jarring hit from linebacker Chandler Jones and fell hard on his right shoulder. He attempted to play through it but was replaced by backup Ryan Fitzpatrick in the second quarter. Fitzpatrick will get the majority of reps this week.

“Jameis is as tough as they come, but we’ll be able to see at some point this week how it’s affecting his velocity,” Koetter said. “That was the thing yesterday, when Jameis said he needed to come out — Jameis loves to compete and loves to play — but he just felt like he couldn’t drive the ball down the field like he needed to. We’ll just have to see how his days, how his recovery and how his treatment goes.”
“The fact that he’s not definitely out, that’s obviously good news,” said Koetter, adding that Winston won’t attempt to throw until later in the week, if he throws at all.

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston took a hard hit on the first series against Arizona on Sunday.

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston took a hard hit on the first series against Arizona on Sunday.

The team will make a decision to determine if he can play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills later this week. The issue is more about pain tolerance than anything. Koetter said there is no risk of further injury.

“The way I understand it, he will be cleared medically to play,” Koetter said. “I know Jameis can handle a lot of pain — that’s not gonna be an issue — I think it’s going to be more of, ‘Does Jameis feel like he can play at the level he needs to play at?’ Obviously, the No. 1 thing in all of this is Jameis’ long-term health. That has to be the No. 1 thing.”
If Winston can’t go, Fitzpatrick would start. On Sunday, Fitzpatrick completed 22 of 32 passes for 290 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He is currently the only healthy quarterback on the Bucs’ 53-man roster.

The team’s current third quarterback, Ryan Griffin, has been recovering from a sprained AC joint in his shoulder suffered in the preseason, although it has been described as a more severe injury than Winston’s. Griffin has been on injured reserve and is eligible to return to practice this week but can’t play yet. Koetter and general manager Jason Licht have discussed bringing in another quarterback this week to assist.

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The hot topic of conversation in the New England Patriots’ locker room Tuesday was the concerning number of hits that quarterback Tom Brady has taken this season: 32 in just five games.

Often one to get right to the point, running back James White said simply, “We have to do a better job protecting him. We’re all accountable for that.”

Indeed, there isn’t just one reason Brady is being battered at such a troubling rate. Everyone has had a hand in it.

Consider …

Offensive line has been up and down: The starting line of left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Joe Thuney, center David Andrews, right guard Shaq Mason and right tackle Marcus Cannon can be more consistent, but there are still plenty of plays on which they are providing Brady enough time. It isn’t all on the line, but that’s a fair place to start. An incomplete pass to receiver Chris Hogan up the left sideline early in the fourth quarter Thursday was a good example: Hogan was open, but Brady was rushed to throw as Robert Ayers hit him. “We hate to see him get hit. Keeping him clean, keeping him upright, that’s our goal every week,” Solder said.
Running back blitz pickup a wild card: White is the ace in this area, but he wasn’t in the game on the play on which Brady was strip-sacked and lost a fumble in Thursday’s win over the Buccaneers. As linebacker Adarius Glanton looped around Cannon, it appeared as if Mike Gillislee never saw him coming. Boom! Brady had his back turned on a play-action fake and never had a chance.

Tom Brady has been hit 32 times through five games, and the reasons why are many.

Tom Brady has been hit 32 times through five games, and the reasons why are many.

Tight ends are part of that, too: On the same play on which Glanton dislodged the ball from Brady, tight end Dwayne Allen couldn’t hold the left edge in a one-on-one matchup against defensive end Noah Spence, who arrived at Brady the same time as Glanton. It was a crunching blow and a reminder that tight ends are part of the protection as well.
Brady’s decision-making: Although it doesn’t count as part of the 32 hits, when Brady dropped back to pass on third-and-goal from the 6-yard line late in the second quarter, he seemed to have receiver Danny Amendola open over the middle but instead tucked and ran, absorbing a hit from nose tackle Clinton McDonald in the process. Brady might have been referencing that play when he said on Westwood One radio, “We’d score more points if I made some better plays in the red area. So that’s really where it starts for me.” He also talked about holding on to the ball too long at times, which is a result, in part, of the team having more of a vertical attack in 2017.

Josh McDaniels’ approach: The offensive coordinator has had his hand forced at times, calling so many pass plays because the Patriots have had to play catch-up. The Patriots have attempted 195 passes and had 128 rushing attempts. Turning more to the running game at times is one easy solution to limit hits on Brady; the key is striking the right balance between preservation and aggressiveness.
Receivers can uncover more consistently: When Brady was sacked on third-and-1 early in the second quarter against the Buccaneers, the Patriots showed a pass-based look by emptying the backfield and spreading things out. The Buccaneers rushed four, and as Brady looked down the field the Buccaneers appeared to have all five pass-catchers covered well. It wasn’t as if the rush got there immediately. Even CBS analyst Tony Romo noted, “The ball has to come out at some point.” Not if no one is open, though.

Credit to the opposition: The Patriots have played some of the NFL’s better defenses, a point Brady made in his Westwood One interview, saying, “We’ve played some of the best defenses in the league. That’s part of it. We’ve been in very competitive games where we’ve had to throw the ball at the end.”

Bill Belichick’s take. During his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI, the coach said of the hits on Brady, “We need to work on everything. The passing game is timing, between the quarterback and receivers; getting the ball out on time. It’s protection; giving the quarterback enough time. It’s having the right play that gives you those options. So all the above. I think we need to do a better job all the way across the board. We can all do better.”

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FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has not had any discussions with Jerry Jones regarding the owner and general manager’s comments Sunday that players “disrespecting the flag” would not play.

Two players, defensive ends Damontre Moore and David Irving, raised their fists at the end of the national anthem at Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. Garrett said he had not heard from any players regarding Jones’ comments, but he spoke with Moore and Irving.
“They did that well after the anthem was completed and it was a private thing they did for themselves,” Garrett said.

Garrett sidestepped a question from a reporter who asked him whether he would have any issues if players express themselves after the anthem.

“Again, we want to approach the anthem in a very respectful way. Want to approach the flag in a very respectful way. And my understanding of what both of those guys did based on the conversations I had with them was that occurred after the anthem. And they wanted to keep it private,” he said.

He said, however, that neither player would be disciplined.

After Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, Jones was asked about Vice President Mike Pence leaving the Indianapolis Colts’ game after more than 20 members of the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the anthem. Jones said the NFL cannot, “in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” and issued a warning to his players if they did use a form of silent protest.
“If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play,” Jones said. “Understand? We will not … if we are disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period.”

Asked whether the Cowboys’ owner’s mandate puts him in an uncomfortable position, Garrett said: “You can ask Mr. Jones those questions.”

Cowboys chief operating officer and director of player personnel Stephen Jones said in an interview with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Monday that he hasn’t talked to his father about his comments but maintains that his father wasn’t making an order to his players.

“I know this. He’s been very pleased. I think we’ve had great communication with our players in terms of the way to do things in terms of how we can certainly have respect and be sensitive to the things that they’re faced with as we did in Arizona,” he said. “But at the same time, I think they understand and trust Jerry, trust our organization that we also need to pay the proper respect to the flag.

“I think they’ve had a great understanding. Jerry’s never told them to do anything, he’s always asked them to. I know we’ve been very pleased with the way we’ve handled it … our players as a team, as an organization, the way we’ve handled obviously a very difficult situation.”

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement Monday that in meetings last week with team owners, commissioner Roger Goodell and Giants owner John Mara, the chairman of the NFL management council, assured union leaders that they would “respect the Constitutional rights of our members without retribution.” Smith also said that “no player is disrespecting our country or our flag” by protesting during the national anthem.
Before the Cowboys’ Sept. 25 meeting at the Arizona Cardinals, Jones, his sons Stephen and Jerry Jr., and daughter, Charlotte Anderson, took a knee and locked arms with players, coaches and other staff on the field before the national anthem as a compromise to the events that surfaced after President Donald Trump said players should be fired if they protested during the anthem. During the anthem, the players stood locked arm in arm.
In the two games since, the Cowboys have stood during the national anthem.

Leading up to the Arizona game, there were a number of meetings between players, players and coaches and the entire organization. It wasn’t until roughly 20 minutes before kickoff that Jones mentioned the pre-anthem kneel that the players accepted.

Garrett said he was not sure whether he would meet with the players about the subject again but said the “conversations I’ve had with our team have been very positive.”

“Again, I believe our team believes in the approach that we take in regards to the anthem and showing respect for the flag and for the national anthem prior to the game,” Garrett said.